Four-star event rider Sara Squires made a statement at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships at Hartpury (13 April) with her beautiful black mare Carla Bruni when taking fifth place in the elementary gold championship.
But the six-year-old Contendros Bube x Sunlight mare began her competitive career on the eventing circuit.
“I bought ‘Carla’ as a just backed four-year-old from an auction at Verden,” explains Sara. “I was looking for event horses and she loose jumped very well. She is also nearly 50% thoroughbred so she fitted the bill nicely.”
Carla took to eventing well last season, clocking double clears in five-year-old and BE100 classes. On her debut she scored an impressive 18.8 (80.2%) in the dressage phase, and only once went below the 70% barrier in her six events.
“She was a fabulous cross-country horse and had great showjumping technique, but the showjumping warm-up scared the life out of her, which is why we’ve now switched her to dressage,” explains Sara. “She would just freeze if she didn’t have enough space in the warm-up, with horses jumping all around her.”
Sara recently moved into a house on Matt Frost and Adam Kemp’s yard with her partner, where she also has her own stable of horses. She says that Carla, who is for sale, “isn’t established yet” but has “a very trainable brain.”
“Unfortunately I can’t afford to keep them all, but it would be nice to retain the ride on her,” says Sara. “We’re going to do some medium tests on her and see what happens — she’s a lovely horse.”
For a full report from the British Dressage winter championships and the Area Festival final — as well as news, views and expert comment — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (20 April).